Struggling with Plan Intensity

Hi all -

New to the forums here. I’m struggling a bit with where I am in the training and wanted to see if the community had any insight.

I started cycling more seriously due to COVID (had dabbled with Peloton before that). I’ve been on a smart trainer since ~ September and so far, have loved it. I was doing a Sweet Spot base plan (mid volume) and I thought Phase 1 and 2 were great. My FTP estimate from my first Ramp in September was about 261, and I recently ended up at 309 ( with a bodyweight of 77kg.

I’ve transitioned into Build and noticed that workouts are getting harder mentally and physically. I expected that, so I’ve been able to keep getting through most of them. But with the latest Ramp test (309), I’ve found the intensity to be overwhelming.

I am generally fine with the first workout of the week (usually some sort of 2-3 minutes at high intensity like Baird+6), but by the time I reach Thursday’s over-under or Saturday’s supra-intervals, my legs are jello. I usually have to drop the intensity down, and this week I’ve had to bail entirely on some workouts. Note that I can hold on to longer 20-30 minute intervals on Sunday, but then the cycle of misery starts all over again the next week. I stopped doing AM workouts because of this since I was never able to keep up with the intensity in the mornings, which was itself a bit of a bummer.

I have a competitive background, so I know how to push it when I have to. It just feels like on TR I have to constantly “dig deep” for 3 or 4 workouts per week which is going to burn me out (if it hasn’t already).

I’m posting here since I don’t quite know what I’m doing wrong. Maybe it’s my diet? Maybe the volume is too high? I’d like to keep riding 5 days a week, but don’t know how I can do that with TrainerRoad’s workout plan. Maybe I should switch to a traditional plan instead of sweet spot plan?

Any tips or suggestions from the group would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

Drop down to low volume and then if you want another workout add in an endurance one.

Adjust ftp as well if needed.

That’s an impressive bump in FTP. Did you make sure your power meter/smart trainer was calibrated? Happened to me once. Had a big FTP increase and was excited but the next week or two of workouts crushed me. I calibrated and redid the ramp test and it dropped 15 watts! So started the build phase over.

Also I’m a big proponent of swapping the Sunday hard workout for the “long ride.” That way you never have more than 3 hard workouts. Even if you can’t do the full long ride every week, I think the zone 2 on Sunday ride offers a lot of benefit and keeps the workload manageable.

What is your age? Intensity gets much harder to handle when you get over 50.

Here are some possible options for you:

  • Drop to low volume and add endurance ride(s) if you need/want to as @ericallenboyd said.
  • Lower your FTP 5-10W and carry on.
  • For the type of workout(s) where you are getting killed, drop the intensity 2-3%. Doesn’t sound like much, but can make a world of difference.
  • Do a recovery week every third week. Two weeks on plan. Recovery week. Back on the plan. Rinse and repeat!

It’s not black and white. That is, you do exactly as plan states and you get gains, otherwise you fail. Obviously if you have a plan, then you should do your best to follow it. However, you can make minor adjustments/tweaks and still get the gains.

Eat more carbohydrates.

I was really struggling with the high volume and mid volume plans. So, I dropped back to low volume with an extra endurance workout. Much more tolerable.

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